The postgraduate.futures team has been working with the UTS Institute for Public Policy and Governance (IPPG) to co-design flexible postgraduate offerings. IPPG runs a unique program for tomorrow’s local government leaders – the Masters of Local Government.

We invited students, graduates and industry experts to the design table to help us better understand the issues and skills needed by future leaders in local government.


How might we?

We were conscious of how valuable this time was with our co-designers so we prepared well. Then we settled on these broad design questions to frame the discussion.

  1. What does the future of local government look like?
  2. How might we prepare for it?
  3. What kind of activities/content/views could we include to help future local government students?
  4. What are your burning questions?

And then changed them on the fly when the questions were not hitting the mark…


What we did

Screenshot of activity embedded in a Canvas page: inviting participation and comment on a short taster courseTo nut out these burning questions we showed our industry stakeholders and former students what shape the short taster course might take on UTS Open. Then we invited first impressions (anonymously) by setting up and embedding a word cloud on Canvas using

Next came the really fun part.

  • Our co-designers arranged themselves in groups to address burning questions of their choice.
  • They swapped war stories from the field, debated the issues and jotted down their critical discussion on butchers paper and post-its.
  • One person from each group summarised their group’s responses.
  • The group as a whole discussed how we might help future local government students.


It was a lively discussion. Bligh Grant, Associate Professor and course coordinator of the Masters of Local Government, had this to say about the workshop:

For me the most revelatory element? There’s at least a couple of different audiences in the frame: people that we are trying to attract as students for the Master of Local Government, and people who might just be curious about local government and want also to scope UTS Open.


How did it go?

Not at all how we expected! We found that our co-designers had very different ideas about what we should covering – gold! Local government issues were re-framed from authentic and diverse perspectives and that was well worth the exercise.


What next?

We’ll type up the responses to analyse them thematically – and invite another round of co-design. We will provide an online form for following up on interest in further design discussions. By the end of Autumn session we hope to have an engaging UTS Open course that we can share with the public and those interested in the Masters of Local Government.

Interested in co-designing with us?

Contact the team here at postgraduate.futures.


Join the discussion